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Published Tuesday 3rd of September 2013 10:46:59 AM

ACS Hillingdon student visits Panama as part of sight-saving charity mission

ACS Hillingdon International School student, Gianfilippo Ruggiero, aged 17, was one of four lucky students who traveled to Panama this summer aboard the world famous ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital. The sight saving mission is part of an internship sponsored by ACS International Schools Foundation and ORBIS, an international charity training eye care teams in developing countries and improving world-wide access to quality eye care.
The programme, now entering its thirteenth year, provides students with a unique learning opportunity, building on the school's fundamental belief that true learning is not confined to the classroom.

Travelling with a team of ophthalmologists, Gianfilippo was joined on the trip by three other ACS students, Yousif Salih aged 16 and Fidan Damirova, aged 17 from ACS Cobham and Sofie S�rsk� Engen, aged 17, from ACS Egham
The students were awarded their places on the trip following a rigorous application process. This involved a written application and an interview with a panel of six representatives from ACS International Schools, ACS International Schools Foundation and ORBIS.

ACS Hillingdon student Gianfilippo Ruggiero commented:

'I wanted to spend my time with ORBIS helping in any possible way. Blindness is a huge issue worldwide, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to play a part in tackling it, from helping doctors to increasing awareness.'

'It was really interesting to learn more about the causes and symptoms of the eye conditions and the treatments used to cure them'

Florence Branchu, ORBIS Corporate Partnerships Manager commented:

'ORBIS is proud to offer ACS students this unique opportunity of seeing international development in action and witnessing how ORBIS is tackling preventable blindness in developing countries. During their visit to Panama they gathered case studies, shadowed staff and captured our sight-saving work through their own eyes. The calibre of students is always high and the team onboard the Flying Eye Hospital thoroughly enjoy having them aboard. We look forward to welcoming them and all they have gathered, back to the UK.'

The four students joined ophthalmologists in August aboard a DC-10 aircraft specially converted into a teaching hospital. On-board the refurbished aircraft, students were on hand to witness the ORBIS international medical team exchange knowledge with and improve the skills of local doctors, nurses and technicians. The students observed surgery and provided post-operative support, experiencing first hand the difference that ORBIS volunteer doctors and nurses make to people's lives.
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